TRADE MARK
Live events industry


The widow of Frank Zappa has failed to stop a German festival using her husband’s name and image. As previously reported, Gail Zappa and her family trust had sued the owners of a German Frank Zappa fan club over their annualZappanale Festival, demanding that they stop using the family’s name and remove a bronze sculpture of the avant-garde musician from the town where the fest takes place. They also sued for 250,000 euros in damages. The court in Dusseldorf has thrown out Zappa’s case, ruling that organisers of Zappanale can continue to use that name, plus the late musician’s image in its branding and on its merchandise holding that such use did not violate any of Gail Zappa’s rights. The widow’s case was seemingly weakened because she could not prove she used Zappa’s name and image herself in Germany, and also because she had known about the event since its launch in 1990 (three years before her husband’s death) and had only chosen to take action in 2008. Thomas Dippel, who runs the fan club who promote the festival, told reporters: “We have always been certain that we have the older rights. We have also patented (trade marked) the name of the festival with the German patent office. Gail Zappa only applied for the patent (trade mark) of her own rights in 2002”. The ruling means the 2009 Zappanale festival can go ahead in August as planned.